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Saturday, May 18, 2013

Madman Moser and Dangerous Dan Busted!

Two of Barry's Truckers (Paul on right)

We would substitute the bands "Barry's Truckers" or "Peace With Grease" in the advertisements placed in the local newspapers.

"Madman Moser and Dangerous Dan present................................................."


Peace with Grease
My best friend Bob, (for over 40 years and still counting) and I used to have some pretty wild times back in the day. We also got ourselves into some occasional trouble! Not only with the law, but on a few occasions with Bob's wife, Mary, who has somehow put up with us all these years. In the 1970's we both were franchised gasoline station dealers in Milwaukee and on week-ends started becoming fans of a couple of local rock and roll bands that were playing in various bars and night clubs in the area. Our two favorite bands were "Barry's Truckers" and "Peace with Grease".

Paul Barry formed his band Barry's Trucker's after leaving college about 1971 and for close to 40 years was one of Milwaukee's most well known local bands with a large following. They played at Summerfest annually for well over 20 years! Within the last year or two, Paul finally dissolved the band and retired to Florida. The last I heard, the remaining members of the band in Milwaukee continued on, using the name "Six Pack". Click the links to see his bio and website.

Peace with Grease was formed about the same time by a group of college students in the Milwaukee area. They were a very good band with a lot of brass instruments. They played in clubs throughout the city for several years, but unfortunately, after college had to disband as career paths and relocation made it necessary. Bob and I are still friends with one of the band members, Robert (Bob), who moved to Crivitz after college and became a high school teacher and now a superintendent. After the move, Robert joined several bands through the years, one of them named American Express and another, Daze Review. They were also very good bands and we hired them a couple times in Crivitz. There's a reunion coming up June, 2013 for Peace with Grease in Milwaukee. See the bottom of this post for details.

While still living in Milwaukee, we started thinking of how great it would be to have a "private" party, rent a hall, inviting all our friends, with everyone chipping in to cover the cost of hiring a band. After a lot of planning, we thought the best option would be to provide free beer at the party, requesting a $5.00 "donation" per person. For their $5.00, patrons would receive a glass and a stamp on their hand and could drink all the beer they wanted. One thing to note, our intent in all of this was not to make money, but to cover our costs in providing the entertainment. Any left over money to come from one party would go towards the next.

Our first party was on a Sunday afternoon in 1973 at the Tyrolean Town House in Milwaukee. In order to attract enough people, we ran a small ad in the paper. The party started at 1 PM and unfortunately, we neglected to take into account that the Green Bay Packers were playing a football game at that time! We thought the party was going to be an enormous flop at first because so few people were coming! But as soon as the game ended, they started streaming in and we ended up having a fun time.
Peace with Grease on stage (Madman in mickey mouse shirt)
I'm standing in the hallway
So began a series of great parties, starting in Milwaukee and carrying on in Crivitz, Wi after Bob & Mary moved there about 1979. The biggest and best party we had was at the Marc Plaza hotel in downtown Milwaukee. We rented the "Grand Ballroom" of one of Milwaukee's finest and fanciest hotels for the evening! The band was Barry's Trucker's and Paul Barry and the boys were totally pumped up and ready! They put on a truly fantastic and energetic show (changing clothes after each set!). If you can believe it, we had about 1000 people come and that was really about the only party that we had cash left over after expenses. We hired my most trusted gas station attendant, Charlie, to help collect the money for us at the door. We were actually attracting people from the hotel's bars, restaurant and receptions. With the loss of customers, the hotel management was not at all happy with us. It probably didn't help that we had so much cash on us from door sales that Bob and I were using the hotel's safe to hold it for us, as we were concerned about getting robbed. A few months later we tried to book another party, and were refused and banned! We called their sister property, the equally fancy Pfister Hotel, and the word was out on us there also!

About 1979, Bob and Mary bought a house in Crivitz that had 5 acres with a barn and made the move "up north". My goal at that time was to get out of Milwaukee and move up there also, but that didn't happen until 1981. I spent most weekends in Crivitz and it wasn't long before we started planning another party! We didn't need a hall as Bob and Mary had all that property and a barn for shelter, I had a huge cooler from my ice business to store the beer in and all we needed were porta-potties and a band. The band was American Express, a local band that Robert played in and that first party in Crivitz was a great one! After thinking about how well it went, we planned to do one annual event per year in the future.

As these were outdoor parties, we had to schedule them in summer only, so we started making plans for the third annual Crivitz event in July of 1982. As the time got closer, we put a huge quarter or half page (I don't remember) ad in the local paper "Madman Moser and Dangerous Dan present American Express", listed the time and date and made our preparations. My mother was visiting from Florida and she came also. Previously, I think it was the first Crivitz party, we had checked with the sheriff's department and were told that as long as we kept people from parking on the highway, we shouldn't have any problems with them.

I remember it was a pretty chilly night for a July evening but the people were streaming in. We had a parking area for cars on the lawn and Bob and I were so busy directing traffic and getting the band set up and going that I enlisted my mother at the driveway to help collect money, stamp, and give out cups. The party started, the band was great ( I think they were into their second set) and all were having a fantastic time. Suddenly a bunch of police vehicles with red lights flashing came into the driveway! I was parking cars, saw the lights flashing and ran over thinking that someone had a health emergency. What I found was a sheriff's officer wanting to know who was in charge and who owned the house. Bob and I told him it was our party and he promptly informed us that we were under arrest for selling alcohol without a license!

We were stunned, to put it mildly. The police had a van with them and told us they were going to confiscate the beer and issue citations for us to appear in court. While all this was going on, the band had stopped playing and there were several hundred people getting extremely frustrated and angry at the police. Bob ran over to the band and ordered them to start playing and I tried to clear a path so the van could drive up to the beer cooler while trying to calm people down. It got pretty intense for a bit and I think someone ended up ripping a side mirror off the police van! There were a couple of guy's smart enough to realize what was going on and they ran ahead to the beer cooler, removed a couple half barrels and rolled them off into the field. Thankfully the sheriff's department didn't try to break up the party and let everyone stay as long as we agreed to not take any more money. And we had some beer still hidden in the field! Bob and a couple of us went to TJ's up the road and bought 10 or 15 cases of beer to bring back and settle everyone down. With that and the couple half barrels our buddies sneaked out, we had enough, thankfully. Most everyone that came actually ended up having a good time, no one asked for their money back, but that was the last of some great parties!

After a few days we were able to piece together what happened. We really thought we were covering ourselves legally by requesting "donations" in our ads. In our minds, we weren't selling beer, we were providing it without charge. We were concentrating on trying to keep under-age people away from the beer. Of course if anyone refused to "donate" we would not have let them in, but like I said, profit was not our motive. Word got out that we ticked off a bar owner in Crivitz who believed we were hurting his business (remember, it was only one party per year!) and that was the reason a complaint was made about us to the sheriff's department. They actually sent in an undercover deputy in his personal vehicle who paid $5.00 for his cup, went up and sampled the beer to make sure it contained alcohol and then called in the troops! Our arrest was published in the newspaper, I think we hired a lawyer and ended up paying a fine of $250.00 each and a stern warning not to do it again.

Here's a couple interesting facts:
The Marinette County Sheriff at the time was married to Bob's cousin. And I had dated her a couple times before she married the Sheriff! You think that would have gotten us any special treatment? Notta!
A while later Bob asked Sheriff Joe why he didn't just tell us to stop when he got the complaint, as we really didn't know we could get in trouble for it. His response was that he was bound by law to investigate any complaint they received and there could be serious consequences if he were to tip anyone off. I guess we couldn't blame him for doing his job! Oh well, live and learn, those were the days, and we sure had our share of good times and fun.




2 comments:

  1. Love it! I remember the party well and I was only 11! Was up there from Milwaukee with my parents for the fun! I remember the cops coming and all the drama!

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  2. Hi Eric! Wow,It's been a lot of years since I saw you, probably the last time at that party! Nice to hear from you, if you get a chance check out the "old" guys from Peace with Grease next month. I think Bob & Mary are going to be there. Hope your mom and dad are doing well. Take care and thanks, Dan

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